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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

Prediction: HOU 27, IND 17 (Line: HOU by 7)

Players to Watch: Arian Foster, Andre Johnson

This game takes an interesting twist. Now it is that the Texans must win this to ensure a first round bye and homefield advantage throughout - pretty important stuff. And yet the Colts are locked into their #5 seed wild card and have nothing to play for. So it is now the Texans hoping to sponge off a meaningless game for the Colts and not vice-versa.

This is a replay of just two weeks ago when the Texans won 29-17 at home.

Houston Texans
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIA 30-10 10 @CHI 13-6
2 @JAC 27-7 11 JAC 43-37
3 @DEN 31-25 12 @DET 34-31
4 TEN 38-14 13 @TEN 24-10
5 @NYJ 23-17 14 @NE 14-42
6 GB 24-42 15 IND 29-17
7 BAL 43-13 16 MIN 6-23
8 BYE ----- 17 @IND -----
9 BUF 21-9 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass

Pregame Notes: The Texans have really stumbled here at the end with a 1-2 record these last three weeks and their losses were not just overtime lose-by-a-field-goal variety. They were trounced and embarrassed by the Patriots and then beaten shockingly well by the visiting Vikings. At least the one win was against the Colts and everything is on the line this week because no one wants to travel to Denver for the Championship game.

Arian Foster was pulled from the game last week right when fantasy owners needed him the most. He ended with only 29 total yards and had an irregular heartbeat that prompted them to shut him down. He has since been to a cardiologist and gotten the thumbs-up and will play. With a week to rest, this will be a full effort from him and shortened only in the event the Texans got a large and seemingly insurmountable lead. Foster ran for a season high 165 yards on 27 carries in Indy.

Owen Daniels has not practice on Thursday to rest his hamstring but so far is expected to play this week. He only caught four passes for 40 yards in the last meeting.

Matt Schaub threw for 261 yards and one score against the Colts and 151 of those yards - and the touchdown - all went to Andre Johnson on his 11 catches. Johnson has been on a hot streak for the last six weeks and will again need to show up to secure this game. He remains the only wide receiver of any fantasy relevance on this team all year.

Foster should be a lock here for a big game since they will rely on him first and mix in as much passing as needed to win the game. Johnson is a must-start regardless and along with Foster are the only two really attractive starts this week. Had the Texans won just one more game this year, there would be no fantasy players from the Texans.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 19 1 28 3 5 5
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 14 27 26 6 23 23

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Savage, HOU SF 0000025021 ***
A touchdown every 7.1 completions against the 49ers ranks as the sixth-softest defense. Quarterbacks have thrown for only 201 yards per game since Week 8, though, which is the fourth fewest per outing. This is the 10th-worst matchup when a rushing score is removed.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, HOU SF 6003300000 ***
No other team has held the position out of the end zone over the past five weeks like San Fran. This is the second-worst matchup for fantasy points per touch, and it ranks in the bottom four in both scoring formats. This is the 18th-best matchup for offensive yards gained.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, HOU SF 1005500000 **
The former Arizona Cardinal could be a desperation play for PPR owners in need of a flex fill-in body. The 49ers have been tough on ground gains while allowing RBs to average the eighth-most catches per game. This is the only team in the past five weeks that hasn't allowed a running back into the end zone.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU SF 0071002000 ***
Over the past four games, the 49ers have locked down wideouts. The opponents weren't exactly exemplary offensive stalwarts, however (ARI, NYG, SEA, CHI). On the season, this defense is 2.6 percent better than average in what it allows.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Will Fuller V, HOU SF 003300000 *
Fuller's status will be updated later in the week.

Update: Fuller has been removed from the injury report and should play without a hitch. The matchup is reasonable, though gamers may want to look elsewhere for a safer play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Stephen Anderson, HOU SF 003300000 **
This is the best matchup for a tight end touchdown, but San Fran has allowed low-end figures for catches and yardage. The position has averaged one TD per game over the last four.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ka'imi Fairbairn, HOU SF 3322 ***
The Hawaiian faces the eighth-softest opponent for the week. Thirteen of the 16 total kicking opportunities made it through the pipes, making this no better than the 10th-worst matchup.

Indianapolis Colts
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CHI 21-41 10 @JAC 27-10
2 MIN 23-20 11 @NE 24-59
3 JAC 17-22 12 BUF 20-13
4 BYE ----- 13 @DET 35-33
5 GB 30-27 14 TEN 27-23
6 @NYJ 9-35 15 @HOU 17-29
7 CLE 17-13 16 @KC 20-13
8 @TEN 19-13 17 HOU -----
9 MIA 23-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
IND vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Andrew Luck 20 280,2
RB Frank Gore 60 1-10
WR T.Y. Hilton 4-60
PK Adam Vinatieri 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: HC Chuck Pagano said he will not rest players in Sunday's game against the Texans and he may believe that. But unless the game remains very close, the players may see the sideline eventually anyway which makes relying on any of them at least a small risk. These Colts are new at heading to the playoffs and could use the time to stay sharp.

Andrew Luck already scored twice in Houston though he completed just 13 of 27 passes for 186 yards and was sacked five times. J. J. Watts needs just two sacks to tie the single-season record and three to break it which seems highly likely in this game. Luck has been sacked 18 times over the last five games and now stands in the way of a record. And he wants to play in a meaningless game.

Vick Ballard ran for a career best 105 yards on 18 carries in Houston and the Colts are no longer shy about feeding him 18+ carries a game. That could be impacted by a big Texans lead or just the reality that Ballard needs to be healthy for next week too and taking a pounding for nothing may not be the wisest plan.

Reggie Wayne specifically made an appeal to not be rested this week and to play the game despite only coming up with 14 yards on three catches in the previous matchup. T.Y. Hilton was the lead receiver that week with 78 yards on three catches and one score.

Relying on any Colt this week is risky. The Texans have a great rushing defense and while they have played much worse against the pass overall in the second half of the year, they are getting all their defenders back from injury and they have to win this game. The Colts have good intentions on starting players but how long they play could become the issue.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 10 29 4 19 17 26
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 20 1 24 28 7 4

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jacoby Brissett, IND @BUF 20000018001 ***
This is a terrible matchup for a quarterback who has largely struggled the past month. Buffalo has yielded just four touchdown throws in the past five games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Frank Gore, IND @BUF 6011100000 ***
Buffalo provides the veteran with the best matchup for rushing yards, touchdown frequency and fantasy points Over the past five games, RBs trotted into the end zone 11 times on the ground and racked up 161.8 rushing yards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Marlon Mack, IND @BUF 4002200000 ***
The matchup is as good as it gets in fantasy, but it will come down to whether the Colts can provide enough work for both Frank Gore and the rookie. Eleven rushing touchdowns have been scored against the Bills since Week 8, and this is the best place to find success rushing the ball.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chester Rogers, IND @BUF 003400000 ***
Update: Rogers should see a few looks with Donte Moncrief out of action. Buffalo presents a tough matchup, and there is no utility here for fantasy purposes.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND @BUF 003300000 ***
Hilton popped off for a big fantasy game last week with a tough matchup, but most of the work came on a single touchdown grab. He is once again a risky play. Buffalo has yielded the second-fewest yards on the seventh-lowest average number of catches per game since Week 8, allowing fewer than one WR TD per outing in this time.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jack Doyle, IND @BUF 002200000 ***
Going back over the past five outings, Buffalo has given up 24 receptions (11th) for 287 yards (6th) but nothing in the touchdown column to the position. This is the second-hardest defense for scoring against, and Doyle owners should look for a better option.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND @BUF 1111 ***
Over the past five games, kickers have made 18 of the 19 extra points and 12 of the 13 field goal kicks. No team has provided more per-game kicking chances than the 6.4 by Buffalo.

WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

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